What to serve before a dinner party?
Having another couple over for dinner, planning a big, hearty meal. Do I need to have something out to nosh on when they arrive, or is it ok to hand them a glass of wine and just start with dinner soon after? And if I should put something out, what do you suggest?
If you're having a big meal and there's only 4 of you, just go with the wine and dig in. They probably know you are a great cook and that's what they are waiting for.
If they are close friends, then you could go directly to table; and start from there.
but usually, even with friend and family, I start with some light finger food and "bubbly" (or beer depending on the season); just to let everyone get in relax, take a big breath, and settle in. and that leaves me the time to get everything ready in the kitchen.
I would say it's okay to just start with dinner. However, I usually just put out a bowl of olives or spiced nuts. It doesn't add to the prep at all and if I'm behind then there is a little something.
You really need to put out a little something but there is no reason to serve elaborate or heavy hors d'oeuvres. Set out some olives, almonds, some figs... just something for your guests to pick at with cocktails.
i tend to be boring and put out a crudite with par-cooked/blanched veggies. sometimes some pita chips with hummus.
are you planning on serving a heavy appetizer? what's your menu? i might have different suggestions depending upon what you're serving! :_)